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13 days ago by Executive Grapevine

Boss says THIS should be leadership's biggest concern in COVID

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​Worker wellbeing has been massively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, according to statistics from Public Health Matters, over 80% of workers believe their mental health has been impacted by the virus, whilst 30% have taken time away from work since March due to burnout or stress.

And this is something that leaders are increasingly aware of; head of accounting giant PWC Kevin Ellis this week warned fellow bosses to be vigilant as a host of new cases of mental illness hit staff as the COVID-19 lockdown forces employees to work from home again takes hold.

Ellis told the Evening Standard that employee mental wellbeing was at the top of his agenda as his 25,000 staff went back into lockdown.

“It is the one thing that comes up most often when we are talking to CEO clients; the mental health challenge of work from home,” he noted. “It was important to show our staff that this was a business-critical issue. The healthy workforce is the most effective.”

Ellis has been outspoken in the need to get workers back to their offices for the sake of their own wellbeing and the benefits to creative thinking and decision making. Recent research from Nuffield Health found that 80% of people feel working from home has had a negative impact on their mental health, while a recent report from the Office of National Statistics states that 69% of adults in the UK feel somewhat or very worried about the effect that the pandemic is having on their life. With worries about the future (63%) and feeling stressed or anxious (56%) the most common issues affecting wellbeing.

“When you’re making a judgement on a due diligence or audit matter you need the whole team in the same room. It’s crucial for everyone, but especially new staff,” he said.

PWC had hired 1,200 staff in London since the pandemic and he is worried about how they would get on: “You learn through observation of what your peers do. Being in an office environment is the best way to do that.”

Ellis found that COVID led to a massive increase in the amount of money companies were investing in digitising their businesses. “Businesses really want to invest in digitising faster than they would have before,” he said. “They want consultancy and advice in how to take costs out of their businesses.”

With the UK’s relatively unstable political situation, Brexit and now COVID-19, CEOs had become “used to uncertainty”. He said that was why so many companies were looking to do mergers and acquisitions. He predicted a particularly big increase in pharmaceutical takeover deals and said there would be more stock market flotations.

“COVID added to the uncertainty but people realise you can’t just sit on your hands. You have to look for opportunities within that situation,” Ellis concluded.

Source: Executive Grapevine